Organising a wedding is no mean feat, and there is no getting around the fact that, after the champagne has been popped, the speeches applauded, and the dance floor given a run for its money, there is just a lot of stuff left over. Stuff like the bridal party clothing, flowers, jewellery, extra guest favours, the wedding dress, stationery, and loads of little décor items.
Here some suggestions for recycling wedding items and reusing these goodies to avoid waste…
Brighten up a local hospital or a nearby old-age home by donating your flowers to them. Alternatively, use them for any post-wedding breakfasts or brunches for friends and family. Another option is to put them into pots or vases and give them to some of your guests as thank you gifts when they leave. Be sure to specify which guests get an arrangement (for example, those that travelled a long distance or family members).
Unused stationery (stamps, paints, inks, coloured card, embellishments, and so on) can be given to a local school in a disadvantaged area, giving the children an opportunity to do arts and crafts with stationery that they may not be able to afford. Wrapping paper and left-over invitations may also be repurposed as gift tags, depending on their nature.
Before the wedding, find a local soup kitchen or a group of needy individuals that will be prepared to take whatever you don’t use. Bring hygienic packaging (like polystyrene take-away boxes) to the venue ahead of time so that leftovers can be packed for transport and distribution.
The wedding dress can be sold or donated. It can also be altered for cocktail parties or other formal occasions, depending on the style. The clothing worn by the bridesmaids, groomsmen, flower girls and ring bearer can also be sold, or given to the wearer as a gift (if it is something that they can wear again). In some communities, these can be donated to those in informal settlements for their Matric dance attire.
Your chalkboards, bunting, classes, jugs, fairy lights, cake stand, and so on will all be useful to other brides planning their big day. Consider posting them on relevant Facebook groups, making them available to couples or wedding planners. If they are particularly useful things, a local crèche or charity organisation may be able to use them around their facility, or when hosting fundraising events.
The important part of reusing and recycling wedding items is to consciously choose goods that will recycle well. Make it part of your decision-making process right from the beginning to avoid unnecessary waste.
Happy Wedding Planning!